Don Lavoie's Economics and Hermeneutics PDF

By Don Lavoie

ISBN-10: 041505950X

ISBN-13: 9780415059503

Economics and Hermeneutics seems to be on the ways in which hermeneutics can help economists handle difficulties comparable to entrepreneurship, rate idea, rational expectancies, financial concept, welfare economics and fiscal coverage.

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This is fully apparent when one considers that for Hayek the ‘compositive’ approach of methodological individualism is to be contrasted to the ‘resolutive’, analytical approach which according to him characterizes the natural sciences. , an organism, an economy) in terms solely of the interactions between its (supposed) constituent parts—the ontological prejudice at work here being that the ‘parts’ are more real than the whole. From a hermeneutical point of view, it could be said that the whole point of methodological individualism is, or should be, not to reduce the whole to the sum of its parts but to remind us that these irreducible ‘wholes’ are nevertheless not things—to be explained causally—but are, rather, interpreted objects and are not understandable apart from the categories of human understanding and agency (it goes without saying, of course, that only individuals understand and act).

Consider for instance these words of Hayek: One curious aspect of this problem which is rarely appreciated is that it is only by the individualist or compositive method that we can give a definite meaning to the much abused phrases about the social processes and formations being in any sense ‘more’ than ‘merely the sum’ of their parts, and that we are enabled to understand how structures of interpersonal relationships emerge, which make it possible for the joint efforts of individuals to achieve desirable results which no individual could have planned or foreseen.

All labels point out the same feature—namely, that the meanings of certain concepts with which we try to make sense of our world, are subject to continuous negotiation. The fluidity of certain meanings mirrors the fluidity of certain life’s experiences. This small analogical step is all it takes to transfer insights gained in the reflection upon intellectual activities to the interpretation of other activities— such as buying and selling. Think of our own expectations as buyers and sellers. Knowing what is ahead of us is a problem.

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Economics and Hermeneutics by Don Lavoie


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